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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Watch disaster narrowly avoided during a landing at Tampa's Peter O. Knight Airport

A still shot of footage from a plane landing at Tampa's Peter O. Knight on March 23.

YouTube video

A still shot of footage from a plane landing at Tampa's Peter O. Knight on March 23.



TAMPA — Since 2009, pilots have voluntarily self-reported three near mid air collisions and two other narrowly avoided catastrophes at Peter O. Knight on Davis Island. Communication problems were a factor in each of those incidents, the Tampa Bay Times reported today, just as it was in the fatal crash at Peter O. Knight on March 18.

After publishing, a reader and local pilot, Frank Loy, emailed his own run-in with danger at Peter O. Knight — just five days after the deadly March accident. Some last-second communication helped avert disaster.

Loy captured the whole thing on a Go Pro camera mounted to his plane. It’s worth a watch just to see the cool views of Tampa and how pilots land at Peter O. Knight just feet from the water. But it also teaches a valuable lesson about proper communication at untowered airports.

As Loy was coming in for a landing at Peter O. Knight, he announced over the ground frequency intentions to land.

Just 22 seconds before he touched down, another plane suddenly said he was going to cross the runways with his twin-engine Cessna. Loy communicated that there was already planned traffic on the runway for his landing.

“Thanks for saying that. I’ll hold short,” the other pilot said.

Loy landed his plan without a problem. But it was clear to him that the other pilot didn’t know he was coming.

“This was a indication to me that the other pilot was not aware of my position or he never would have announced he was going to cross the runway,” Loy wrote in the YouTube video’s description.

The video shows Loy’s entrance toward Peter O. Knight — a pretty, birds-eye view of Tampa — and you can hear his conversations with the other plane just as the runway is in sight around the 3 minute mark. The video points out the burn spot left of the runway from the fiery crash just five days before, as well as the other plane sitting on the runway waiting to cross.

Here’s how he described the event in an email to the Times:

“On March 23, 2016, I was inbound to land at Peter O Knight Runway 18 when another pilot almost pulled out on the runway in front of me while on short final approach. Fortunately for me I was able to communicate to the pilot allowing me to quickly stop him from proceeding on the runway. My point here is if he had just pulled out this situation could have been bad. I may or may not have been able to go-around and miss the aircraft had he proceeded on the runway.”

[Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2016 12:37pm]


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